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La Tasca plans new tapas bar chain

01 October 2004 by
La Tasca plans new tapas bar chain

La Tasca, the Spanish tapas bar chain, has ambitious expansion plans for its second Spanish chain, La Viña.

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La Tasca: six Viña sites by 2006

The first La Viña opened 10 weeks ago in Hale, Manchester, and a 160-cover site will open in Liverpool in November. The group's owner, the Restaurant People Group, aims to have six sites by the end of April 2006.

Chief executive James Horler, who likened the new offering to a Spanish gastropub, said it would enable the group to open new restaurants where it already had a La Tasca.

La Viña is aimed at an older, more sophisticated clientele than La Tasca. Although the emphasis remains on tapas, it will feature modern Spanish wines and reflect the food and style of inland Spain, compared with La Tasca, which is more representative of the Costas, Horler added.

In addition, he plans to grow the 45-strong La Tasca chain by a further 10 sites a year. "Casual dining is where the growth is now, and the Spanish market is still largely uncatered for," said Horler. "We can still see space for 150 La Tascas in the UK."

The group opened a La Tasca in Aberdeen last Friday and will open a site in Kingston, Surrey, its 46th, on 1 October.

On the international scene, the company wants to expand its east coast presence in the USA from two La Tasca sites to "a significant-sized business".

A new restaurant should open in Maryland in October 2005 and there are plans to open others in nearby locations like Baltimore.

Horler is also interested in breaking into mainland Europe using a franchise model, although he has no plans to take La Viña overseas.

Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 30 September 2004

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